that it was an oversight" not letting him
"know of the Royal Titles Bill"and that although he looked upon it as "a slight" to him, and, as her heir, a slight to her also, he was willing to receive Mr. Disraeli "in the kindest manner possible." The Queen "took the blame on herself" and, for the first time, she apologized to her son in writing.
RUSSIA'S ambitions had been merely checked at the close of the Crimean War. During 1875, her agents were busy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, inciting the people to rise against their Turkish masters. By the spring, both countries were in the chaos of rebellion, with Russian officers to lead them, and Turkey was retaliating by persecuting Christians in the disturbed areas. Queen Victoria forgot India and the glow of her new title as she read the stories of atrocities, and reports of Russian agents encouraging Serbia and Bulgaria to join in the revolt. In the manner of the Prince Consort the Queen bombarded her Prime Minister with memoranda.
"She writes to me every day and telegraphs me every hour,"Disraeli told a friend.
Queen Victoria was fifty-seven years old and her strength had been less affected by bereavement than she imagined. She was still able to walk many miles over the moors in Scotland, in weather that made her followers shiver. Mr. Disraeli was seventy-two and he might have said, with Mr. Gladstone, that the
"senses were closing in"on him. In January he had written to Lady Bradford,
"I have just come from the Cabinet ... I have seen, and am, a great sufferer."In June he was enduring so much pain from gout that he wrote1 to the Queen, afraid lest he might have to
"renounce the great personal happiness"of serving her.
New and startling members of Parliament were disturbing Westminster, among them Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who had talked loudly of the promised blessings of a Republic, from the mayoral chair in Birmingham. Mr. Chamberlain, who was to become heir to Mr. Disraeli's own imperial language, was still full of young fiery indignation. Disraeli, who had also stood up in the Commons, so many years before, with some of the trappings of an actor, watched the performance of the new political stripling and disapproved. Mr. Chamberlain stood up,